The Frendo Spur on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi is one of the classic alpine climbs on the Mont Blanc Massif. Climbers ascend from the mid station of the Midi téléphérique to the top station, an ascent of 5,000 vertical feet. According to camptocamp.org, the Frendo is French grade D, 5a with 1,200 meters of climbing. Among guides there is a pissing contest about who can act the most casual about climbing it.
Canmore-based IFMGA guide Andrew Wexler and I added it to our list of many great trips together. Instead of casual, I found it to be an incredibly good time with a great buddy. See Andrew's post at his site globalalpine.com.
The Frendo Spur rises above this French burro's left ear.
Andrew down climbing the moraine wall to the glacier.
We simul-climbed most of the route. Almost two years ago Andrew crashed paragliding. He became training-obsessed during recovery. He's always been an amazing rock climber, but with all the training he came back to rock climbing stronger than ever. I led all of the simul-climbing, reassured by Andrew's iron paws gripping the rock. When simul-climbing it's really bad if the second falls.
Starting up the final 500 feet of rock climbing.
Unroped on the incredibly exposed but lower-angle portion of the snow arete. We ice climbed to the left of the rock buttress above.
Andrew on the arete. The Aiguille du Midi téléphérique rises from the clouds.
Andrew leading the first of two 50-meter pitches of snow-covered ice to the top. The last pitch was near vertical, but it was picked out and easier climbing.
Do the good times get any better?
Andrew on the trail to the Midi.
Andrew finishing his workout at the entrance to the Midi station.
Packed into the téléphérique like cows to the slaughterhouse. Thanks for another great adventure Andrew!